Tool Discussion

Just wanted to make a discussion post regarding what tools/machines y’all use and what people’s setups are like.
It can serve as a guide for people new to the machining world and also a way to share the tips and tricks people use when working with vex parts or machining/fabricating custom parts for use in vex (whether it be vrc, vexu, or vex ai), or just a place to show off your setup.

I’ll start it off with a guide of what I consider fairly necessary to have if you’re just starting off In vex, and what you can work towards getting when you’re ready to expand your machining capabilities. Feel free to add on to or discuss what you like.


Simple Tool Guide for Vex

Basic necessities-
Hacksaw, file/sand paper, screwdrivers, wrenches, tin/aviation snips, and wire/zip-tie cutters, needle-nose pliers.

Good add ons-
Corded/cordless hand drills, nut drivers, dremel (or angle grinder, if you’re brave enough), miter saw, circular saws, angle finder, level, ruler, vice grips, and/or a vice.

Things to look into next-
Drill press, scroll saw, bandsaw, belt sander, a workbench, good clamps, tap/die, reamer, heat gun (for lexan), bench/arbor press (it has its uses), and push broach.

If you’re well funded/vexu/vex ai-
CNC router/mill/lathe, 3D printer, and rotary broach.


if you are super well funded, you can go for some advanced cnc machineries like a water jet or plasma cutter. You can cut super precise polycarbs and metals

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Obligatory forum archeological excavation:

Dremel vs. Hand Saw
Dremel or Angle Grinder
What is a relatively cheap / safe way to cut metal?


Hacksaw, vice, and occaisonally a drill press. (Of course the other stuff like screwdrivers, nut drivers, tin snips, etc. as well)


Normal scissors
A sharpie
A ruler


Screwdrivers, Wrenches, Ratcheting Screwdrivers/Wrenches, Power drivers, Chopsaw, Dremel/Oscillating Saw, Hacksaw, Belt sander, files, and the most important of all, the zip tie gun

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all you need is a good pair of tin snips and a hacksaw

You’ll need a file or sandpaper to get rid of any sharp edges, if you don’t then you won’t pass inspection

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All I have is a sock wrench a wrench screw drivers. and that is it.

These are my favorite underrated tools for VEX:

Deburring Tool

  • Great at removing sharp edges quickly.
  • Can remove burrs from the edge of holes after drilling.


Automatic Center punch

  • Makes a little dent in to make precise drilling much easier.


Jewelers Saw

  • Great at cutting C-channel and Lexan in nonstandard ways. (like high strength shaft holes)
    (note that I haven’t actually used a jewelers saw before, but I will be getting one and have used a coping saw which is similar but less suited for metal)



Nice those are some interesting ones

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there are also smaller sized nut drivers, that can be used on standoffs. I use these all the time.

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I’ve never heard of a zip tie gun, but now that I have, I need one.

What are some really good cheap tools you can use for cutting plastics. Because I have a certain thing that needs to be very accurate. And yes. before you ask at my school we do have a cnc but I don’t think I can gain access to that.

And I don’t know what my team currently uses for plastic because I just transfered from the middle school to high school

T Square Rulers
With a box cutter knife, continuously scoring against the ruler in one area until it cuts.

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Ok yah. That sounds like a good idea. Is it a long process though. It doesn’t really matter I am just wondering

Yes it is a long process, but its probably the most cost effective yet you will be ensured straight lines.